Ana Castro: Technology Advocate, Hero, and Leader
Initially, Ana Castro was drawn to the hard sciences, and specifically the field of physics. However when she started attending university, she decided that that those subjects were too theoretical, and that she wanted an education in something that had more practical applications. That’s when she discovered computer science, which satisfied her inherent needs as a problem solver, while also giving her the ability to impact real world projects through her work.
In 2004 she graduated from the Colima Institute of Technology with a degree in systems engineering and networking. She then went on to complete a diploma course at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education / ITESM. As her education progressed, she found herself falling in love with the idea of being a software engineer, which inspired her to attempt ever greater feats of learning and code.
Upon completion of her education, Ana spent a short time working as a purchasing analyst at Bodesa, S.A. de C.V. However within a few months she was able to transition to a job as a Software Engineer at the company, developing solutions for credit and debt collection using C# and ASP.Net. After spending several years there, she went on to take similar positions at a variety of prestigious organizations located in her home town of Colima, Mexico, including The Hybrid Group, Crowd Interactive, and most recently MagmaLabs.
Throughout her career Ana has been driven to become the best possible front end engineer that she could. However she was always held back by a terrible case of “impostor syndrome” which left her feeling like she was less capable and worthy than her fellow peers in the field. She was finally able to overcome this when some of her co-workers told her about a fateful meeting they’d had with Zassmin Montes de Oca at RailsConf in Portland. That was when she discovered Women Who Code.
At the time, there wasn’t a group in Mexico working to advocate for women in technology careers the way that Women Who Code was. However the idea intrigued her, and she reached out to the leadership of the organization in order to find out about the process of founding a local branch in Colima. After an initiation process that familiarized her with the goals and procedures that guide WWCode, she started working to lay the foundations for the Network.
Being in charge of this local group instilled Ana with a sense of pride that helped her to overcome the impostor syndrome symptoms that she had faced throughout her career. It also taught her how to be a better communicator, and share her knowledge with both crowds and individuals. At the same time the prestige of her position opened up doors for her, giving her the chance to travel, and making her eligible for numerous speaking opportunities.
Today Ana Castro is a software engineer at the top of her field. She also works hard to give back to the community. In addition to acting as the Director of Women Who Code Colima, she helps to organize events, workshops, and study groups for underrepresented groups, including students in rural and low income areas. When asked what advice she has for women looking to start a career in the tech industry she said, “Don't get intimidated by what other people say say or think about your skills. If you want something you have to go after it. “